SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Curt Gentry, a San Francisco writer who co-authored “Helter Skelter,” the true crime classic chronicling the Charles Manson case, has died at the age of 83.
Pat Gentry said Sunday that his brother wrote 13 books throughout his career, picking only the topics that deeply engaged him.
Perhaps his best known work was “Helter Skelter,” co-written with Vincent Bugliosi, the man who prosecuted Manson and his followers.
For 15 years, Gentry painstakingly researched and wrote, “J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets,” a highly critical biography of the FBI chief. The book won Gentry a PEN award for the best nonfiction book of 1991.
He published “The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California,” a novel depicting a giant earthquake that sent California tumbling into the ocean.
“I think that was one of his strengths — he was able to write on different subjects,” Pat Gentry told The Associated Press. “He wrote many books about many things.”
Born in Lamar, Colorado, Curt Gentry served in the Air Force during the Korean War, writing for the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper in Tokyo, before launching his professional writing career in San Francisco, where he lived the rest of his life, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.
In his later years, Gentry surrounded himself with writers in San Francisco’s North Beach, said longtime friend, Tony Dingman.
“We talked about books. We talked about spy craft,” Dingman told the newspaper. “He was interested in everything.”
Gentry died in a San Francisco hospital on July 10 of complications related to lung cancer.